VAN ZYL, ANNETTE
Born 25 September 1943 in Pretoria
Married Jan DuPlooy by the spring of 1968
Height 1.80 m (5 ft 11 in)
A shy Afrikaners girl who took over the mantle as the best South African female after Sandra Reynolds in the 1960s. She was the 1966 Mixed Open champ with fellow South African Frew McMillen.
Like many South African raised on hard courts Van Zyl used a Western grip for her powerful forehand. Best on cement or clay.
The first hint of things to come was hoisting her nations title in 1963.
In 1965 Van Zyl made the semifinals at the Australian. She would never have played there except for the fact that the Federation Cup was played there that year. Going on from there Van Zyl bagged multiple international titles.
Van Zyl got to the Italian final in 1966. At the time this was the 5th biggest event behind only the slams. In the final she led Ann Jones on an outside court. The fans started filing past and filling the stands after a men's match, breaking her concentration. Jones came back for a comfortable 8-6 6-1 win. At the French Annette was a surprise winner in the Mixed Doubles with Frew McMillen. This would be her lone slam title. Weeks later Annette made the quarters at Wimbledon-ending the year ranked #6 in the world.
1967 was even better. At the French she made Billie Jean King her victim in the quarterfinals. Annette considers her 3 slam semis to be the highlight of her career.
Her last hurrah was in taking her nation's title in 1975. By this time she was wearing eyeglasses. After the 1977 South African Open she hung up her racquet as a pro.
Mrs du Plooy has coached since retirement, something she continues to do in the 2010s even as a grandmother.
Grand Slam Last 8
Australian SF (1965)
French SF (1967-1968)
Wimbledon QF (1966)
US Nationals: QF (1968)
1963 South African Champion
1965 Natal, Cheltenham, London Grass, Welsh Championships
1966 Dutch Champion
1967 Swiss Champion
1968 Natal, Swiss, Gstaad, German Championships, and Kitzbuhel.
1975 South African Open
World Top Ten
A youtube clip with many pictures of Annette from her career in the 1960s. Several photos are in color. She was quite a lovely lady with the bouffant style popular then. Especially see at 3:25.
[5 minute interview]
Lawn Tennis Encyclopedia (1969), By Maurice Brady. page 26